Rob Taylor: ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Summer’
May 20, 2008
Everyone has a dream … here’s mine:
I am sitting in a chair, sporting a provocative leisure suit ” all white, bellbottoms, a button-down flower shirt from Mr. Brady’s wardrobe, nipple-length collar, white shoes.
I look like a Pat Boone regurgitation, but at the moment fashion is the last thing on my mind. I don’t care.
A clock ticks loudly, too loudly, making me squirm. Aware of my discomfort, I wiggle, prodded by the foot-long comb that protrudes from my back pocket. I search desperately for the chair’s sweet spot, trying not to call attention to myself, trying not to give myself a wedgie on national television.
Sitting across from me, mere inches from my nose, Nipsey Russell studies me with twinkling eyes.
“Stonehenge,” he says. Then he says it again, louder than before, with a nod, with urgency.
I stare blankly, scanning his face for a clue that isn’t there. The clock is louder now, like a “60 Minutes” ad that’s on the verge of detonating. My mind races. Stonehenge. Stonehenge. What could it mean? Nervously, I glance at my watch, noting the date: April 20.
“Uh … the U.K., rocks, circles, religious ceremonies, wonders of the world …” I say, grasping.
Nipsey abandons me for 3 precious seconds, then nearly comes unglued.
“Women’s fashion,” he shrieks, shaking his hands ecstatically.
Suddenly, it clicks.
“Things a man will never understand!” I shout.
A bell dings repeatedly. The clock stops. We jump up and down, then embrace. Dick Clark shakes our hands vigorously as the “$25,000 Pyramid” theme song springs to life.
Calgon takes us away to a commercial break.
I love that dream, though it rubs some people the wrong way. People like Konnie Rask, My dream sent a chill down her spine.
“Wearing white pants and shoes before Memorial Day?” she said, rolling her eyes. “Especially in the mountains. Ever heard of Mud Season? Hello? No good can come from this, only spaghetti sauce showers and spilt coffee.”
But this was just the tip of the iceberg. Apparently, winter white ” whatever that is ” and cream are OK year-round (but should not be worn together), fingernails must match shirt colors, silver and gold can never be worn together, socks must match shoes (not pants).
There was more, but my head was swimming.
“Konnie, I’m never going to understand this,” I said, flashing the timeout signal. “I don’t know how you live like this.”
I left it at that, leaving scores of unanswered questions about winter wedding dresses, doctors’ and nurses’ uniforms and Don Johnson suits. Right then and there, I had reached my fashion threshold. I don’t belong in Konnie’s world. Neither does Steve Etten.
His mother was the victim of Steve’s first and last fashion statement. After getting all dolled up ” wearing a beehive updo, Revlon war paint, Liz Claiborne, killer pumps, knee-length dress and all the right accessories ” Mrs. Etten waltzed past her son.
“Well? How do I look?” she asked, ready to be worshiped.
“Not bad, not bad. Not good, but not bad.”
Those were Steve’s last words about women’s apparel, thanks to his near-death experience (momma had a broom and knew how to use it). Now, his only fashion statement is jeans, a flannel shirt and an occasional ball cap: Joe Construction Worker. He wouldn’t be caught dead in white pants.
But some of you are just itching for Monday, feeling the mojo. Only six days until you bust out the summer whites without fearing Konnie Rask’s wagging finger …
As for me, I’m going to sit this one out. Last time I donned white, the surgeons were sharpening scalpels and checking my medical insurance. Never again. Wearing white in my dreams is one thing, but my masculine fashion instincts (an egregious oxymoron, I know) tell me, “Don’t go there.”
Though a mere spectator, I stand in awe of the Memorial Day to Labor Day White Pants and Shoes Rule. Nipsey Russell was right: Men like me will never understand women’s fashion.
Everyone has a story. What’s yours? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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